Mesothelioma & Familial Dysautonomia: Background information when reading So Much for That

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So Much for That

A Novel

by Lionel Shriver

So Much for That
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2010, 448 pages
    Mar 2011, 448 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

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Beyond the Book:
Mesothelioma & Familial Dysautonomia

Two devastating diseases precipitate the health care crises of So Much for That. Glynis develops mesothelioma, a type of invasive cancer that is associated with exposure to asbestos. This type of cancer typically starts in the lungs but can affect the entire mesothelium - the tissue that lines many internal organs. Not only is mesothelioma notoriously difficult to treat, it's also hard to pinpoint its exact cause, since its onset typically happens 30 to 50 years after initial exposure to asbestos. In Shriver's novel, Glynis, an artist who works with metal, was exposed to the hazardous substance in the studio as an art student, although she initially blames her husband Shep for introducing the toxin through his work in the home construction and repair industries.

While Glynis develops mesothelioma in middle age, Jackson and Carol's daughter Flicka has dealt all her life with familial dysautonomia (or FD), a genetic disorder that occurs almost exclusively in people of Ashkenazi ...

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